Kitchen Cabinet Colors

How do you choose from all the kitchen cabinet colors available?

Good question!

Especially when there are so many materials, stains, paint colors and finishes.

What does your kitchen need?

A feeling of space?

  • Go with clean lines, sleek finishes, less frou-frou, paler shades.

More light?

  • Light or white cabinets reflect light for a brighter space.

More character and style?

  • Consider extra finish options for wood or painted cabinets.

EXAMPLES: Cottage style - vintage finishes, painted cabinets in creamy pale colors.

Country/farmhouse - natural wood finishes or cabinets painted soft white or earthy shades of blue, red, or green.

Traditional - elegant fine detailing, crown molding. ALSO - mix and match colors, with an island cabinet and accents in another shade or finish (wood vs. painted).

What colors are you attracted to?

Dramatic deep tones?
Cool light colors?
Warm earthy hues?
Elegant neutrals?
Bright colors?

Kitchen cabinet colors - color groups

Most kitchen cabinet colors fall into several basic color families. Here are pros and cons for each:


PRO: Clean fresh look that reflects light. Works well with future color scheme changes.

CON: Can show dirt and feel cold. Choose a warmer cream color rather than bright white.

Medium tones:

PRO: Hide dirt so the easiest to keep looking clean, show off style and finish details.

CON: Can be bland, especially if you have lots of cabinets. Add glass doors, choose a less plain style, special finishes.

Dark colors:

PRO: Rich, elegant, warm, dramatic, makes the kitchen a more intimate setting.

CON: Eats up light, can give an enclosed feeling. The bigger the kitchen, the better dark wood cabinets work, though you can use them beautifully in a small but open room with good lighting.

Bright hues:

PRO: Unusual and fun with personality plus. Small kitchens can really get away with some zing.

(See more of this unique look at Ecelctic Kitchen Design.)

CON: Can be overwhelming - choose the color carefully to make sure you can live with it a long time.

Pros and cons of basic cabinet materials


Cherry, maple, oak, hickory, birch, etc.

PRO: Can be stained to almost any wood-tone shade or painted any color.

CON: Is there one?


PRO: Easy to clean, less expensive.

CON: Lower quality, looks cheap, limited color choices.

Other man-made finishes

PRO: Easy-clean, gorgeous in colors or classic in white. Finishes like Thermofoil, super shiny epoxy lacquer, even fine-grade laminate (see link below to Martha Stewart cabinets) offer lots of choices in kitchen cabinet colors.

CON: Some man-made finish cabinets look beautiful and expensive, others look cheap and kind of cheesy.

Thermofoil is usually limited to white and cream colors, and can require heat shields around a stove.

These Kraftmaid "Venicia" cabinets have a beautiful leather-like poly/vinyl finish.

(See more on this kitchen at Modern Kitchen Design.)


PRO: Industrial or commercial kitchen look.

CON: Shows fingerprints, can be noisy and feel sterile.

Basic kitchen cabinet finishes

  • Stained: Woods can be stained for varied color choices, from rich dark chocolate to warm honey to a natural wood-look finish.
  • Glazed: Glazing stained wood darkens (or lightens) the grooves to make the detail and accents stand out more. This finish works especially well in a larger kitchen to give interest to long runs of cabinetry.
  • Painted: Manufacturers are offering more choices than ever in kitchen cabinet colors for painted cabinets, including white, cream, grays, greens, blues, reds, browns and black.

    And if you're painting your own, the sky's the limit! You can have any color you want. For refinishing info, check out How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets.
  • Vintage: Shabby chic with sanded edges, burnished with faux dings and distressing.
  • Natural looks: Burled wood with beautiful swirly grain, natural hickory with both dark and light woods, horizontal wood grain for a modern appearance, or even bamboo.

And furthermore...

  • Draw inspiration from the rest of your interior colors - or change those colors to go with your new cabinets!
  • ALWAYS Take a sample home to see in your lighting. This is important! Kitchen cabinet colors look completely different in the store.
  • Make sure the undertones in the wood finish you want go with your color scheme - or create a color scheme to work with it.
  • This can make or break a new kitchen's beauty!
  • For more ideas, check out these manufacturer's kitchen cabinet colors online:

    Plain and Fancy Cabinetry has gorgeous cabinets, very well-made with lots of color and style options.

    Home Depot now carries a beautiful line of Martha Stewart Cabinets with pretty colors and styles. Click on the "View Gallery" to get an overview, then go back and click on "View Styles and Finishes". Use the arrows on each page to advance. The website doesn't do the cabinets justice, though, so if you're near a Home Depot, pick up a copy of the catalog.

    Interview with a Color Expert

    Kitchen Color Design

    The Color Story of a Kitchen

    Kitchen Wall Colors

    Floor Colors for Kitchens

    Ceiling Colors for Kitchens

    Kitchen Appliance Colors

    White Kitchens

    Back to Kitchen Color Schemes

    Return to Home Page from Kitchen Cabinet Colors

    Thinking of remodeling?

    Keep a notebook or scrapbook of notes, clippings and ideas.

    Kitchen magazines are expensive - look through them in the grocery checkout line. If you see pix of a kitchen you really like, buy that magazine.

    Stop in at home centers and pick up any free cabinet manufacturers' catalogs.